“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

We can’t tell you how often we’ve heard business owners say something like, “I’m never going to [be able to] retire!” Sometimes it’s for financial reasons, but often after digging a little deeper, we find that it’s for non-financial reasons.

At BTA, we focus a lot of our writing on the nuts and bolts of the business ownership transition process, but we never forget that while it is a business and financial transaction, at the center of it all is the business owner – a human being with emotional and psychological needs. After all, owners have much more than money invested in their companies. After so many years of working hard and growing their businesses, it becomes part of who they are.

Selling the business can feel akin to losing part of their identity, which in turn can cause feelings of emptiness and regret. This is the last thing that should happen after spending their lives building a successful career and business.

In one of our recent posts, we discussed some of the most common fears business owners face as they get close to retirement age and proposed ways they can overcome them. Part of the exit planning process is figuring out what you want to do next. It may sound daunting, but really, this is the fun part! So let’s take a look at some retirement possibilities.

Opportunities in Retirement

Travel – Get that RV and explore parts of the country that you’ve always meant to see. Or, maybe something more exotic… like Fiji or Tahiti?

Spend More Time with Your Family and Friends – The demands of owning and running a business for years can be hard on an owner’s family. This could be the ideal time to spend more quality time with your friends and family.

Mentor/Teach – You have tremendous real-world business experience and knowledge that would be a huge benefit to someone who is thinking about starting a business or is in the early stages of ownership. The lessons you’ve learned could be invaluable for an inexperienced owner.

Volunteer – Are there causes that are close to your heart? There are lots of great charitable organizations out there in desperate need of volunteers. Friends that have terrible illnesses? Raise money to find a cure. Veterans in your family? Wounded Warriors and other veteran organizations could use your help. Love dogs and cats? Try the local animal shelter. The possibilities are endless.

Consult or Start a New Venture – Maybe you realize that business is really where your passion lies and that’s what you want to be doing in your next act. Perhaps starting a new small business or providing consulting services is the way to go. Again, put all of that knowledge and experience to good use. Many people north of 55 years old are purchasing businesses. These are just a sampling of the types of activities you could consider doing in your retirement – some jumping off points to get the creative juices flowing. It can be helpful to work with a professional who specializes in life planning to help you examine and determine what the best options might be for you. It may take you some time to figure out what you really want to do, but it will be worth the effort in the long-term. With the proper exit planning, your next phase of life can be what you hope and envision -- excitement and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams and goals!

And in case you’re still not convinced, check out this article 12 Great Things About Retirement.  


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